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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

Roast Sea Bass with potatoes, black olives, thyme and parsley

Roasted Sea Bass with potatoes, black olives, thyme and parsley

The first time I ate this dish was 20 years ago in Portofino (a tiny beautiful harbour on the Italian Riviera). I was awed by how so few ingredients created so much flavour.

This recipe makes a complete meal in one roasting pan. Roasting this beautiful fish whole on the bone brings out its natural sweetness. Roast sea bass has a delicious, crisp, thin skin and delicate creamy flesh.

Wild sea bass is available from August to March and farmed sea bass is available all year.

Miraculous ingredients: whole sea bass, white wine, Kalamata black olives, non pareille capers in brine

Roast Sea Bass with potatoes, black olives, thyme and parsley


1kg whole sea bass, scaled and gutted (1kg is equivalent to one very large sea bass, or 2 small sea bass)

700g potatoes - the floury type which are used for roasting or mashing (Maris Piper is my favourite variety to use)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

150ml white wine (the same quality as you would drink)

25g fresh flat leaf parsley

20g fresh thyme

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to season


Preheat the oven to 220C.

Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly into approximately 1 cm discs. I use a mandolin to speed up the prep.

Smear 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the bottom of a roasting pan and place the sliced potatoes on top in one layer - you can overlap the potato at the edges if the pan isn't big enough. Sprinkle the potatoes with sea salt and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the potatoes. Place in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes so the potatoes get a head start on roasting before the fish is added.

Wash the sea bass in cold water and then dry well with kitchen paper. Take the potatoes out of the oven after 10 minutes and place the sea bass on top of the potato layer. Take half the thyme sprigs and half of the parsley bunch and push into the fish’s cavity.

Finely chop the remaining parsley and pull the tiny leaves off the thyme sprigs, scatter these with the olives, capers and finely chopped garlic over the fish and potatoes. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the sea bass and sprinkle the fish with a little sea salt.

Place the pan of fish and potatoes in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Next, remove the pan from the oven and pour in the wine. Put the pan back in the oven and continue roasting for another 15 -20 minutes until the fish is cooked (a single large sea bass will take longer to roast than 2 small sea bass). You can check if the sea bass is cooked by spearing the thickest part of the fish (near the head end) with a sharp knife to see if the flesh has turned from slightly see through (raw) to white and opaque (cooked).

Serve with a simple green lettuce salad and French dressing.

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking 20 minutes, serves 4

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